I was going over past posts on my former blog and I came across this post. It brought a lot of memories back and also made me want to share it again. A lot of people have come into my life since this was written that I think this could help out. Thanks for taking the time to read it :).
“This Saturday, December 31st, I will be running an 8k. That is 4.97 miles.
This weekend, I ran the better part of 9 miles in Pt. Reyes (with a LOT of help from a Unicorn).
For this weekend, I am scared shitless. Wondering why? I’m not.
This weekend, including the Pt. Reyes run, Tough Mudder, and any of the spring lake/Annadel runs I did with anyone BEFORE Tough Mudder (and NOT including any runs I will do this week) will mark about the 10th time I’ve run for any “remarkable” amount of time in my entire life. You see, I never was a runner and never thought I would be. I still don’t think I am. I’m someone who the mere THOUGHT of running sends me into “mini-anxiety” mode. Not because I don’t think I can do it but because instinctively that’s how my brain has ALWAYS been wired.
For me, running is associated with pain and humiliation. Emotional, physical, and mental pain and humiliation that is really hard to shake. I’ve always had chronic shin splints from being so heavy most of my life, and for the first time in my life, they don’t exist… I credit that in large part to my lifestyle, changes in training (BOSU is my BABY!), and consistent commitment. I got the “shins splints always held me back!” out of the way because that is the least of why this 8k this weekend scares me shitless.
You know how someone who is claustrophobic can be absolutely fine until they get into a confined space? That’s when the cold sweat, increased heart rate, heavy anxiety, and nausea sets in. Often times it’s the equivalent of kryptonite to a persons superman. Mental fears can cripple the most able of people. I am one of those able people who has more allergies to kryptonite than most people know.
My heart beats faster when I remember what it was like to be told “we’re running the mile today!” in PE and getting so physically sick that sometimes I was able to get out running it all together. There is nothing more physically degrading than trying as hard as you absolutely can, digging with everything you’ve got, feeling your joints explode and grind with the wear and tear of your obese body chugging along with all the might it can muster, and still running a 13 minute mile. As a prepubescent child who can’t physically do what other kids my age could do, I found out really quickly they never let you forget it. Not in a nice way either, in the cruelest of ways. I’m not the minority though, I’m the majority as far as knowing how that goes. I want to change that…
Whenever I think “I’m going to run” I follow it with “and be humiliated” out of instinct. It was all I ever knew. On top of the emotional humiliation, I always got to look forward to my body feeling like it was going to drop dead of a heart attack, stroke and brain aneurism. A child should never feel that way. Ever. That’s how bad off I was.
So when I got the e-mail that I was actually REGISTERED for an 8k (Pacific Coast Trail Run for those in the curiosity department), my heart dropped and the pit of my stomach flared up with the weight of a dying star. I understand that sounds a little dramatic, but when my brain reverts back to the paragraphs above every single time I know I’m about to run, I don’t care if you think I’m being dramatic or not. Truth be told, there will never be words to describe the anxiety, but you’re going to get my best absolute effort to do so.
Cara is the one who registered me for the 8k, and she has been my running inspiration (along with Tye) for quite some time. The 9 miles we ran together wouldn’t have been possible without her. She doesn’t know it, much like most people don’t know it who I have run with before, but I was terrified. Especially at the end of our run. The final 1.5-2 miles brought back all the familiar feelings of how running USED to make me feel. I felt bogged down, tired, tight, and like I was failing. Trying so hard, yet failing a little harder. That was when I exploded…
“I don’t like eating your dust” Cara tells me.
“I had 2 options… I could have faded away or I could have exploded. I chose to explode” is what I told The Unicorn.
That final mile and a half, I chose to impress myself. I felt the familiar feelings of failure creeping up towards my soul, starting at my toes. I didn’t let it get any farther than that. I reminded myself “You are not who you used to be, and you’re better than you wanted to be” and set out to stay true to my word. I used to fade away, but on Christmas Eve in Pt. Reyes I took that fear that had crippled me for a lifetime and I literally ran with it. With each step I increased the pace. I could feel my hips firing like pistons and my quads taking a lactic acid bath as my strongest muscle, my heart, took over. With each step I ran away from the debilitating anxiety and towards what I have always known deep down… That I can do anything.
In that moment, I chose to live. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. I chose to embrace the fear rather than disgrace it. My fear has made me fearless. I don’t hate fear, I respect it. Because of that, I don’t even fear “fear itself.” I don’t even fear failure. The only thing I fear is forgetting where I came from. I think we all know that will never happen…
In the end, I am scared shitless for this 8k. However, I will embrace that fear and Hulk smash the hell out of this Pacific Coast Trail Run. I will leave a big, green imprint in the dirt as I stir up more dust for others to eat. I will embrace the love of the Unicorn who is my guiding light in this whole process, and hold my shirt up high at the end with a “tell me I can’t do something” shit-eating grin on my face.
Take that failure.
PS I chose to make my most personal “Hulk Talk” ever, public. I have more than 75 people entrusting me during “Hulk: Trinity – Round IX” so the LEAST I can do is leave no stone unturned with me. If you have 17 minutes to spare and would like to get a VERY personal account as to why I don’t accept “I can’t” then click the links below… Merry Holidays y’all!”